View from High Houghall, Durham

No confirmed case of TB on Houghall Farm

Wed, 25/08/2021 - 09:22

East Durham College would like to advise our students and local community that we do not have a confirmed case of TB on Houghall Farm.

A routine post-mortem inspection of one of our finishing cattle showed possible signs of infection. The Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratory Agency are now carrying out further tests to identify the cause of this, we hope to have the results by 1st October. The tests include TB (Bovine tuberculosis). The animal was in prime condition with no signs of ill health, we have not had TB on the farm for over twenty years. It should be noted that according to the latest annual report by the Animal and Plant Health Agency, the North East of England had very little evidence of TB, with only eight inconclusive results, none of these were in County Durham. Please see reference and map below. Given the history of the farm and the area it is extremely unlikely to be TB. 

Fortunately, this infection relates to only one animal, the rest of our cattle have been out grazing all summer. As a precaution, our students will not be allowed to come into contact with cattle until we have confirmed our TB Free Status. We have also notified anyone who may have come into contact with our herd. We will be carrying out a full herd test on 7th September. We have also upgraded the biosecurity entrance to the farm with improved changing and washing facilities. As ever, we insist that students use separate PPE (personal protective equipment) at college to that used on their home farm or work placement.               

We trust the farming community will understand our position and appreciate the information provided. If nothing else, it is a good reminder of the importance of biosecurity on every farm.

Otherwise, 2021 has been an outstanding year for the Houghall Campus, with record numbers of students enrolling as well as the government announcement, back in April, that Houghall will receive multi-million pounds of funding to further develop our facilities. This year, we will welcome over 50 young farmers on to our agricultural courses and will soon be able to offer a full range of short courses too. There are also plans to introduce more degree courses in partnership with the Royal Agricultural University.

If you require further information relating to Houghall Farm, please contact Paul Flynn, Director of Farm and Commercial Activity, on 0191 375 4700.

References:

Animal and Plant Health Agency 2019. Year-end descriptive epidemiology report: Bovine TB in the Low Risk Area of England County coverage: North East of England (including Northumberland, Durham, Cleveland and Tyne & Wear) Year-end report for: 2019

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/923076/north-east-lra-yrend-2019.pdf

The update of June 16th 2021 is much less specific, but does have some excellent graphics on the distribution of TB, showing Durham as a very low risk area:

Defra 2021: Great Britain Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) Quarterly Overview.

Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/994069/bovinetb-gb-quarterlyoverview-16jun21.pdf

TB Areas of Great Britain.jpg